Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna is the only masterpiece game of October 1992.
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If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. ~Pearl Buck
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Kiss is the only masterpiece game of August 1992.
De-Ja 2 is the only masterpiece game of June 1992.
Foreword: I liked De-Ja a lot so sequel was a natural choice.
Title: De-Ja 2
Original Title: デ・ジャ２
Release Date: 1992-06-25
Summary: After events of De-Ja you're the winner in life. You have fame, respect, money and the love of pretty Gachako. What else to wish for? New adventures and unveiling new mysteries, of course. You get intrigued by the story of "crystal skulls" and one mad archaeologist knows exactly how to find them...
Game Type: Command selection with elements of point and click adventure visual novel
Story Length: 12 hours.
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy!
Comments of Difficulty: You can see story progress in percentage. Difficulty was surprisingly subpar to prequel. The greatest planets puzzle was rather easy since the only information you got was light to the light and dark to the dark and it was repeated over and over. Compared to infodumping of prequel puzzle, it was a paradise. There was also the puzzle for piracy - the puzzle that you were supposed to clear only if had brochure shipped with the game. But unlike prequel, there was no randomization on this part, so in just 3-4 errors you inevitably make it to the finish and you don't even need to load game for that.
Character Design Rating: 6/10.
Story Rating: 8/10.
Protagonist Rating: 7/10
Game Quality: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
Rating Comments: Well, that's a harsh one! It's classic Elf adventure that we're talking about! But that's how I feel. I see every element as inferior to De-Ja either for a reason or sometimes because that's not fresh anymore. I felt bad about too many things. Length got almost twice as long. CG got really scarce. Protagonist stopped being that badass hooligan, Gachako got lots of bi@tch traits. And with all this huge length (some people claim to spend over 30 hours on it) very monotonous gameplay, quite an inarticulate story line and lack of really funny moments to cheer up in the mids of the journey.
Structure: 100% division just as prequel.
Story: Because of implemented command selection variant I may have missed some parts of it since you have to click at everything up to five times and while reading same lines over and over tend to skip even important parts. So one mad archaeologist makes us really interested into the crystal skulls story. But you soon find him dead in his own house almost simultaneously with his daughter. As you prove to each other that you're not the killers there's a natural desire to investigate the death together. With the safe deposit key found in his pocket you discover a green crystal skull inside the cash. With that you make your way to Palau temple and thread by thread approach the secrets of this temple and locations of two other crystal skulls. Archaeologist daughter get mysteriously killed in the process and with Gachako you manage to unwind this knot of secrecy only to discover the identity of the enemy and his plot just in the final of the game. I don't think I spoiled much, actually since there are lots of characters and details not even scratched.
Characters summary: There are quite many characters here, but I found all of them (besides old acquaintances from De-Ja) quite dull. Girls were pretty, but I was shocked by their minor role as one-scene filler in the mids rather than original characters the prequel had. There is exactly one other girl that Hatsushiba Hakase got into relations with, the mad archaeologist's daughter. But she appears kind of late, disappears kind of soon and she plays an important plot role. Without spoilering too much, I'd just say that's she's not really mad archaeologist's daughter...
Gachako: Whoa! Miss Gachako got even more... how do you say it... mature. But as for me her character went awry. All she's saying all the time is "Say that you love me", such sleazy talk. She demands constant attention, behaves as if she owns Hatsushiba Hakase and bi@tches about everything. But the culmination for me was meeting her with another guy (archaeology institute worker from De-Ja) by chance. Her motivation was "You aren't paying me enough attention so I wanted to have fun and invoke jealousy". That's just boring, really. I just see here how netorare Elf is being born in this very moment. And it's not even close to the really intriguing relationships like in C's Ware "Desire". Just stupid woman stuff.
Protagonist: So it's same Ryuusuke, but he's called Hatshushiba Hakase so often that original name rarely shows up. He's still cool and he's kinda totally pro sticking his hands everywhere. Just impression is not as fresh. But Protagonist is really a savior of this game.
Sexual Content: Look at the picture and hereby try to believe that there is nothing going on with this girl. She's just a hotel owner. Not a scene... nothing. And now imagine that there are lots of other cute girls that play their minor roles that have nothing but the flirt. And now you know the sexual content of De-Ja 2. Apart of Gachako and that archaeologist daughter there is actually nothing. But there are as many as two H-dreams. So even this part is lacking.
Affection for the Characters: Low overall. Women play too small roles and there aren't charismatic males.
CG Score: 7/10. CG aren't bad. They are just way too scarce for this volume. Women are depicted with care, but you better remember this or that stance because you'll hardly be able to see another one.
Sound Score: Voicing is good in multi-pack version. No protagonist voicing of course.
Addictiveness: I'm rather spectical about this work.
Technical Aspects: So game is command selection. And quite a determined one. It's not rare that you have to click everything up to 5 times to progress. It has point and click moments only to search the dead body or among the shelves of books or on a desk. It could easily be pure command selection, not much of a change. It's said to be such mix because players weren't ready to such bold jump to point and click on ELLE release. Pretty weak argumentation. There are animated objects like in ELLE, but they are scarce and they aren't fun when you select them upon the look menu and finding them out directly by clicking. So yet another step back from ELLE.
Conclusion: It's not going to be game of the year 1992 of my choice. Most of Japanese reviews I read claim this game to be another masterpiece. It might be, actually true. All I rant about is that I was not thrilled since the beginning, then there was not a definite goal and not even a clear enemy, just some loose events that somehow manage to lead somewhere out of coincidence. Repeating choices mechanics did not let me enjoy the talk puns. I did not like the characters. And I especially did not like the ending where upon real 30 minutes time you're being told what this game was really about, what were the people and circumstances behind the so random events which somehow managed to lead to a final. It's like you played for 15 hours and did not even notice events were made up for it. How could I even notice that behind the randomness and foolishness. I'm sure this game can be enjoyed a lot if you find the story or the character of your liking. I failed to find an appeal point and little irritations piled into this review.
Kurutta Kajitsu is the only masterpiece of May 1991.
The 4th Unit - Wyatt is the only masterpiece game of April 1992.
Sotsugyou Shashin / Miki is the VN of March 1992.
Joker II is the only masterpiece game of February 1992.
Himitsu no Hanazono is the most curious game of January 1991.
Year 1991 was the first with monthly issues and for that reason the hardest. Let's first try to determine its prominent features for VNs:
- Number of adult games increased greately to some 100 titles overall
- PC-98 era arrives with mouse support and the older systems finally lose support
- RPG percentage remains high at some 20% while ADV grows significantly to some 50%
- New sub-genres appear - point-and-click, quiz, board game.
- Some games start to use action icons instead of command selection thanks to mouse use.
- It's the last year without any government regulation. After November 1991 shoplifting incident regulations being created.
Those were the games with great stories and a professional touch. And I'm biased here towards ELLE since it's the only one that got renewed version in 2000s. Otherwise it might be a serious competition.
Gidyy is the only masterpiece of December 1991.
Psychic Detective Series Vol. 5: Nightmare is the only masterpiece of November 1991.
Rance III - Leazas Kanraku finally gets solid mechanics and is worthy to be called VN of October 1991.
Cosmic Psycho is the only masterpiece of September 1991.
Kimi Dake ni Ai o... is a very curious game and is worth being VN of August 1991.
Foreword: I just had to try Elf adventure title. Now I joined the army of Hiruda scenario fans.
Original Title: エル
Release Date: 1991-06-23
Summary: Post-nuclear world last survivors dome city. "Black Widow" organization is trying to obstruct plans for human survival while anti-terror organization along with lady sniper Elle oppose them.
VNDB Link: https://vndb.org/v2293
Video playthrough: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLENAECnNmAq_KMeaBzd3g0HXL2znhn-eQ
Game Type: Point and click adventure visual novel
Complete Story Clearing Difficulty: Easy!
Comments of Difficulty: One-way road. The worst thing that can happen is that you can miss optional H-scene or couple CG.
Character Design Rating: 9/10.
Game Quality: 10/10
Overall Rating: 10/10 Rating Comments: I did not really expect this work to surpass De-Ja. But it actually did! Could not stop till finished it in one sitting. I can not give excellent mark to Characters since it's an adventure story and there's little time to crack complex characters. But apart of that I loved every second of it. Point and Click is much more fun than Interactive Adventure choices. There is much less effort needed to capture flags to progress the story compared to De-Ja, mostly because you don't need to think/look/investigate etc - story progresses just by talking and checking different locations for new stuff.
Structure: Game is one piece so it was difficult to say how much progress was left. Almost at the very end I was still of large amount of story to come since there were still two locations closed - but - BAM - unexpected stuff showed up and story shortly ended.
Story felt a bit shorter than De-Ja. I can't avoid spoilers although promise not to spoiler heavily about the ending. So you join a unit of snipers to investigate recent abductions of humans by Black Widow organization and their leader Gimmick. "Sniper" is just a cool title, all you have is a hand stun-gun with volume ranging from light stun to lethal shot. So five of them are of low ranks and their officer is of S rank. You actually are of SS rank but you can't reveal that so it's blank rank and you're subordinate of a different intelligence body. One of lower rank snipers is girl named Elle who takes you on a tour around Media center and the city and then leaves alone. First you encounter a girl sexually assaulted by two Black Widow members, then as story progresses there are two more sexual assaults that you prevent right in the media center, the base of sniper organization. The attackers have bombs explode on arrest. Then one by one fellow sniper team members start to die just after they approach the mystery of Gimmick identity. Their bodies are gravely destructed, partly dismembered with all entrails out. Eventually Elle joins you as an investigation partner and together you eventually manage to reveal the secret of Gimmick. Then Ex-Machina happens (in a good meaning, nothing extraterrestrial or stupid) and everything ends in the spirit of Matrix.
Characters summary: Characters are all depicted very lively. It's a brutal man world story so males advance the story while girls here are just service staff : waitress, receptionist, nurse, pop-idol, tv drama star. They have quite episodic roles and involve a single H-scene each (Chris actually has one and a half since you save her from street gangsters in quite an intriguing state). So Elle is the only heroine here.
Protagonist: Joe Takanaka is the default name, but actually you get to insert your own name just as game starts. Again, very similar to De-Ja, protagonist is one hell of a pervert. Whenever he sees something with a skirt, he can't stand but to try to grab it, to lick it, to kiss it and to devour it with his eyes, of course.
Sexual Content: Low. But freaking funny! There are five sexual assaults made throughout the game by gangsters and in four of them you actually join the assaulters! One superfun scene is of Section chief who we found guilty in murder. So he takes his secretary hostage stripping her while threatening with a knife. We don't have a good angle to shoot him so we just join him to harass her together. The fun part is that he cries : stop right now, it's my secretary, what are you doing to my subordinate. Since it's point and click adventure, you can't skip scenes but must gradually kiss/touch/lick etc, but the good stuff is that H-scenes give you a new lead by the end of it, so it's not just a senseless act, but a plot move.
Affection for the Characters: High. Every male characters has strong individuality and you won't be able to forget them. Every female character is very cute and fun in her own way.
CG Score: 10/10. There aren't too many CG here, but I just love Elf CG, even H-CG and guro ones. Special note should be given to animations. There are hundreds of 3D animations in the game. Most of objects grow legs and other limbs and do weird things on clicking. Very fun stuff. Really. Every second object on a screen. Another great feature is short videos in most important plot moments. They are of great quality and they make you forget that you're playing a visual novel game. It's totally like anime in those scenes.
Addictiveness: I'm hopelessly addicted to early Elf works now. And ELLE is awesome mostly because of point-and-click style. Now it's really interactive experience and you really feel like playing, not clicking every possible variant in each location over and over. Just talk and walk.
Humor: Yes! I'm distinguishing a special column for humor here. Game treats everything unseriously. Just look at this picture. Nurse whipping patient to make him drink medicine properly. One guy hanging on a rope. Another one in speed wheel chair. 3rd one smells a pile of poo. Next pair are having sex. Next to them is a nurse who's masturbating with a sofa. To the right is the guy who holds his own eye. Just below is the guy with his head in his hands. This nice grandpa in lower right corner has a dick showing up from his head and cumming on clicking. Every object is clickable and everything produces fantastic commentaries and/or animations. This no restraint humor is the best!
Technical Difficulties: Game is based on old fullscreen Direct-media and DirectX so it basically freezes on Alt-Tab, but as soon as I tried to run it in window-mode with DXWind, it was perfect.
Conclusion: Game that I'll never be able to forget. Every piece that I like came together and produced pervert protagonist comedy adventure story in sci-fi setting with a single intriguing story-line and great shock in the end. It's the first VN game I played that I liked without any but's.
ELLE is my favorite VN in June 1991.